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MPhil in Health, Medicine and Society


Professor in Quantitative Sociology



Maria Iacovou's first degree was a BSc in Mathematics from Kings College, London. Following this, she spent several years working as an international tax analyst and a secondary school maths teacher, studying part-time to obtain BSc and MSc degrees in Economics. She was awarded a PhD in Economics from London University in 2002 for her thesis "Education, the labour market and the family"

Between 1997 and 2013, Maria worked at the Institute for Social and Economic Research (ISER), an interdisciplinary research institute based at the University of Essex. She has collaborated with colleagues in fields including epidemiology, economics, statistics, demography, social policy and sociology, and her publications reflect this interdisciplinary approach.

Between 2015 and 2019, she was the Director of the Social Sciences Research Methods Programme (SSRMP), which provides training in research methods to postgraduate students and staff across Cambridge University.

Dr Maria Iacovou on the Sociology Department website


Maria's research interests centre on family relationships. She is interested in people's living arrangements, the reasons why people choose different living arrangements, and how and why household structures differ across countries. She has published several articles on the transition to adulthood, particularly the home-leaving process; and on other aspects of family formation, including how people decide whether and when to have children, and the processes by which these intentions are (or are not) realized. She is interested in the quality of intra-household relationships (primarily the relationships between partners, and the relationships between parents and children), in the determinants of the quality of these relationships, and in the outcomes arising from poor relationships.

Maria is also interested in parenting and child development, particularly in the effects of infant feeding patterns; she has studied the effects of breastfeeding on babies and their mothers, and has undertaken groundbreaking research on the effects of infant feeding schedules on children's later cognitive development.

Maria Iacovou


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